"The Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative Hopes to Give Wildlife Room to Roam"

"It's a big, inspiring vision of wildlife connectivity. But could it work?"

"It was early July when I drove north through Wyoming. For hours, the world stretched out, arid and desolate. Then something miraculous happened: The land began to curve and convolute, twisting and then greening. Better yet, I came upon one of the most graceful and beautiful animals on the planet—pronghorn. They were everywhere, with curved black horns, their coats tawny brown and vivid white. A sign—"Caution, Antelope Entering Highway at 55 mph"—reminded me that these delicate creatures are the continent's fastest land mammals.

I had seen plenty of pronghorn in my life, yet somehow I'd managed to never see one do what they do best—run. Soon enough, I got my chance as a pronghorn shot in front of my car. The animal seemed to have a hard time gaining purchase on the asphalt, its hooves skittering across the road, but still it was moving at an astounding speed. Which was good, or I would have hit it straight on.

A friend once explained to me that the pronghorn evolved so that it could get away from the now extinct American cheetah. With the cheetah long gone, the pronghorn is much faster than any predator remaining on the continent. Except for one: the North American car."

David Gessner reports for Sierra magazine March 13, 2024.

Source: Sierra, 03/15/2024